Overview Of Cable Rope Hammer Curl

Also called cable hammer curls with rope attachment, this exercise strengthens the arm muscles. You do it by grasping a rope handle attached to a low pulley of a cable machine with a weight stack.

Then, grip the ropes with your palms facing each other. Pull the rope towards your shoulders and rest the forearm on your biceps.

The upper arm up to the elbows remains stationary on both sides of your body as you stand shoulder-width apart. The cable rope hammer curl exercise works on the biceps, forearm, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles.

Also, it stabilizes the deltoids and the trapezius muscles[1]. Due to grip limitation, exercisers do 10 -12 reps per set and progress with practice.

Muscles Worked By Cable Rope Hammer Curl Exercise

This cable rope hammer curl exercise works on the biceps, forearm, brachialis, and brachioradialis muscles. Though it doesn’t target the deltoids and trapezius muscles, they feel the effects too.

Experts advise that you only do the cable rope hammer curl exercise if your brachialis muscles are less developed than the biceps. But if balanced, then you may skip the workout. The advice is to use a neutral grip and not the supinated grip for stronger arm muscles.

With time, you can adjust to heavier weights to strengthen your muscles. But, don’t reduce the range of motion at the expense of heavier weights. It minimizes the benefits of hammer curls[2].

Here is a summary of the three muscles affected by cable hammer curls with rope.

  • Brachioradialis is the main muscle on the lateral side of the forearm used proximally with the brachialis muscle. It’s attached to the mid-forearm and extends to the radius, where the forearm meets the upper arm.
  • Brachialis (also brachialis anticus) is an upper arm muscle between the biceps and the triceps that helps flex the elbow and push the biceps forward.
  • Biceps are muscles at the front part of your upper arm, attached to the arm bones by tendons. If you contract the biceps, they pull up your forearm, making it rotate outwards.

Cable hammer curls

What Do Rope Hammer Curls Work?

The rope hammer curls workout builds the arm muscles like the forearm, the brachialis in the upper arm, and the brachioradialis in the forearm. Fitness lovers take about 10 to 15 repetitions since the rope grip is limited.

With time, the cable rope curls strengthen your arm muscles and are moderate exercises even to beginners. You can keep adding weights that you pull with the rope as you slowly learn the exercise. Always ensure you complete the full motion to benefit from it.

How To Do The Cable Rope Hammer Curl Exercise

Attach a cable to a low pulley as you stand a foot near an adjustable cable machine while facing it. Then, with your knees bent slightly and feet shoulder-width apart, hold the rope handle attached to the low pulley of a cable machine.

Let your palms face each other (inwards) as you hold the rope handle, and keep your upper body and the arch of your back motionless. Only move your forearm from the elbows to the palms. Hold the end of the ropes with your thumbs to allow you to do a full range of movement for the cable hammer curls with rope.

Brace your abs muscles[3], flex your arms, and bend your elbows close to your sides. Keep the elbows still on your body during the movement. Curl your arms up towards the biceps and shoulders until your forearms rest on your biceps. Don’t move your elbows. Pause for a second and squeeze your biceps. Now, lower your forearm and ropes to the starting position slowly. Repeat the movement a few times as you wish.

Alternative Exercises For Cable Rope Hammer Curl

There are many alternative curls to build arm muscles like:

Build Arm Muscles

1. Alternate dumbbell hammer curl for biceps

Here you hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing down or each other, and stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms on your side and raise the dumbbells one after the other.

Only the forearm rises with the dumbbell. The exercise helps to isolate the biceps and makes your arms big.

2. Barbell spider drip curls

To work your brachialis and biceps brachii, try the barbell spider drip curls. Set up a bench at a 45-degree angle. Sit on it astride so your chest hangs above the bench.

Let your partner place the barbell on your palms facing up. Curl the barbell up and squeeze your biceps. Then, bring back the weight to the start point.

3. Neutral grip pull-ups

To work the biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, lats, and abs, try this exercise. Grab a pull-up bar using a neutral grip and pull your body up above the bar. Hold for a second, squeeze your biceps and lats, and move your body down gradually. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.

4. Barbell reverse grip curls

Here you grip the barbell[4] using an overhand grip (palms face down), then stand straight and curl the barbell up to the neck level. Hold it there, squeeze your biceps and abs, and get it down slowly.

Always let your body and upper arm remain stationary as you curl. This way, you condition the brachioradialis, brachialis, biceps brachii, core, and lats.

5. Alternate cross-body dumbbell hammer curls

Hold two dumbbells using in-facing palms as your grip. Let your body and other parts remain still. Bring the dumbbell towards your chest using your forearm, then slowly back.

Do the same with your other forearm, and squeeze the biceps muscles each time the dumbbell rests on your chest. Alternate cross-body dumbbell hammer curls strengthen your biceps and other arm muscles.

6. One arm high cable curl

One arm high cable curl
The one-arm high cable curl exercise builds your biceps, but ensure you exercise both arms for balance. Grip the handle of a high pulley machine with your arm extended shoulder high while you stand next to the pulley.

Gradually curl the cable up to your head, isolate the biceps, squeeze, and hold for a moment. Go back to the start, and you can alternate the arms. Repeat as many times as necessary.

7. Standing bicep cable curls

Standing bicep cable curls help work on your biceps progressively. Attach a straight bar to a low pulley using a cable. Then, while standing with legs shoulder-width apart near the pulley, grip the bar with palms facing up.

Ensure elbows rest on your sides as you curl your forearm up till they are vertical to your palms. Pause for a moment, flex your biceps, and lower the bar back slowly. Repeat 5 to 12 times as appropriate.

Cable Rope Hammer Curls Benefits

The cable hammer curls with rope exercises have many benefits like:

  • Conditioning the arms muscles like the biceps, brachialis, forearm, and brachioradialis if you take the whole movement slowly and focus your body on the exercise.
  • Strengthening your grip since you must hold the rope tightly always to avoid letting go.
  • Stabilizing the trapezius muscles and the deltoids.
  • Strengthening the core if you engage the abs muscles each time before you start the upward curl with the upper arms and body stationary.

  • Taking a neutral grip may ease pressure on the wrists and elbows.
  • Gaining overall upper body strength[5] to lift heavy objects and stabilize the movement of the arms and the body.

Cable Hammer Curl Tips

The hammer curls[6] support the upper body strength, particularly the upper and lower arm. You can do the exercise with bands, cables, or dumbbells.

To do it correctly:

  • Stand with your legs straight with a dumbbell in both hands and your arms placed straight on your sides.
  • Ensure to engage your abs so you won’t move any other part of the body as you lift your forearms.
  • Do the curl movement slowly. Take about 3 seconds from start to finish of the curl and back?
  • Let your palms face inwards, focus on the curl motion, and relax your shoulders.
  • Then, bend at the elbow to curl the forearms with the weights towards the shoulders and ensure the elbow moves full range.
  • Pause for a second, with your thumbs close to your shoulders. Return the arms holding weights slowly and repeat a few times.
  • Don’t release the weights fully to maintain biceps tension, and keep weights slightly suspended before pulling again.

3 Hammer Curl Variations

Hammer Curl Variations

1. Seated hammer curl

Adjust a bench to 90 degrees, then sit leaning on the bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms on your sides and palms in-facing. Curl the dumbbells to your shoulders. Only bend the forearms from the elbows, hold, then bring the weights back slowly.

Your biceps take the load, as your back is supported when you curl. You will strengthen the biceps, arms, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

2. Hammer curl power squat

Another variation to the hammer curl works the biceps and arm muscles more. When you add a squat, the workout gets more challenging. And you work the glutes and leg muscles as you strengthen your arms.

So, hold the weights with your hands, then curl them towards your shoulders using the forearm only. Then, squat with the weights[7] raised, stand again, and lower the weights and start again.

3. Cable rope curl

For better resistance training and stronger arm muscles, the cable machine helps you work against a consistent resistance. The weights maintain resistance at the start and the top of your arc movement.

For cable rope curls, attach a rope to the low pulley of the cable machine. Grab the ropes and pull them in a curl using the forearms and palms facing each other. Keep the body and upper arms still and brace your abs. Swing back slowly, repeating it a few times.

Read More: A Sneak Peek At the 12 Best Arm Exercises Of All Time

Frequently Asked Questions

Rope hammer curls are good since they condition and build arm muscles. They also strengthen many muscles for daily activities. And you only need a rope attachment and a cable machine to do the exercises.

Rope hammer curls are effective for toning and strengthening the arm muscles like the brachialis, brachioradialis, and biceps. If you brace your abs during the curl movement, you build the core and improve the stability of the deltoids and lats.

After attaching a rope to a low pulley, you should face the cable machine standing shoulder-width apart about one foot away. Grip the rope with in-facing palms and elbows on your sides since only the forearm will move.

Keep the upper arm and body stationary as you pull your forearm towards your shoulders. You may exhale as you pull up till your forearm touches your biceps, then pause a second and go back to starting pose.

Hammer curls work the brachioradialis (a key forearm muscle), plus the brachialis (an upper arm muscle) and the long head of the biceps.

Cable rope curls are effective as they stabilize and work on the biceps, arms, brachialis, shoulder, and upper back. The exercise stabilizes the trapezius, lats, and anterior deltoids.


The cable rope hammer curl exercise is great for the arms and upper body. You work on the arm, forearm, brachialis, biceps, and brachioradialis muscles.

The various cable rope hammer curl exercise routines may also benefit the glutes and the legs muscles. You gain overall health and reap several benefits.

There are many variations of the hammer curls, particularly if you use a rope attachment to a cable machine for cable rope curls.

Otherwise, to get the full benefits, keep your body still, and only let the forearm do the curl movement as you do the curls slowly. Always pause, engage, and squeeze the biceps muscles, including the abs, for maximum benefits.